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1

What's this Chapter?

Ch. 5 - Know When To Be Bad - Aggression

2

What's this Chapter's Judgment?

You will always find yourself among the aggressive and the passive aggressive who seek to harm you in some way. You must get over any general fears you have of confronting people or you will find it extremely difficult to assert yourself in the face of those who are more cunning and ruthless. Before it is too late you must master the art of knowing when and how to be bad - using deception, manipulation, and outright force at the appropriate moments. Everyone operates with a flexible morality when it comes to their self-interest - you are simply making this more conscious and effective.

3

The Fearless Approach
What's this Chapter's quote by Fifty?

"The way i learned it, the kid in the school yard who doesn't want to fight always leaves with a black eye. If you indicate you'll do anything to avoid trouble, that's when you get trouble." - 50Cent

4

The Fearless Approach
Life involves constant battle and confrontation. This comes on two levels. On one level, we have desires and needs, our own interests that we wish to advance. In a highly competitive world, this means we must assert ourselves and even occasionally push people out of position to get our way. On the other level, there are always other people who are more aggressive than we are. At some point they cross our path and try to block or harm us. On both levels, playing offense and defense, we have to manage people's resistance and hostility. This has been the human drama since the beginning of history and no amount of progress will alter this dynamic. The only thing that has changed is how we handle these inevitable moments of friction in our lives.
The first step in overcoming this is to realize that the ability to deal with conflict is a function of inner strength versus fear, and that it has nothing to do with goodness or badness. When you feel weak and afraid, you have the sense that you cannot handle any kind of confrontation. You might fall apart or lose control or get hurt. Better to keep everything smooth and even. Your main goal then is to be liked, which becomes a kind of defensive shield. (So much of what passes for good and nice behavior is really a reflection of deep fears.)

What you want instead is to feel secure and strong from within. You are willing to occasionally displease people and you are comfortable in taking on those who stand against your interests. From such a position of strength, you are able to handle friction in an effective manner, being bad when it is appropriate.

5

The Fearless Approach
This inner strength, however, does not come out naturally. What is required is some experience. This means that in your daily life you must assert yourself more than usual - you take on an aggressor instead of avoiding him; you strategize and push for something you want instead of waiting for someone to give it to you. How will you generally notice that your fears have exaggerated the consequences of this kind of behavior?

You are sending signals to others that you have limits they cannot cross, that you have interests you are willing to defend or advance. You will find yourself geting rid of this constant anxiety about confronting people. You are no longer tied to this false niceness that wears on your nerves. The next battle will be easier. Your confidence in handling such moments of friction will grow with each encounter.

6

The Fearless Approach
We all face a similar competitive dynamic - people all around us are struggling to advance their interests. But because our fights are more subtle and veiled, we tend to lose sight of the harsh aspects of the game. We are often too trusting - in others, in a future that will bring good things. We could use some of the toughness and realism that people who grow up in pressurized environments have. A simple line can be drawn - we all have ambitions and large goals for ourselves. We are either waiting for some perfect moment to realize them, or we are taking action in the present. This action requires some aggressive energy channeled in a smart manner and the willingness to displease a person or two who gets in our way. What's the lesson?

If we are waiting and settling for what we have, it is not because we are good and nice but because we are fearful. We need to get rid of the fear and guilt we might have for asserting ourselves. It serves no purpose except to keep us down.

7

The Fearless Approach
What did Wright discover which serves as a lesson for us?

That when you submit in spirit to aggressors or to an unjust and impossible situation, you do not buy yourself any real peace. You encourage people to go further, to take more from you, to use you for their own purposes. They sense your lack of self-respect and they feel justified in mistreating you. When you are humble, you reap the wages of humility. You must develop the opposite - a fighting stance that comes from deep within and cannot be shaken. You force some respect.

8

The Fearless Approach
When you submit in spirit to aggressors or to an unjust and impossible situation, you do not buy yourself any real peace. You encourage people to go further, to take more from you, to use you for their own purposes. They sense your lack of self-respect and they feel justified in mistreating you. When you are humble, you reap the wages of humility. You must develop the opposite - a fighting stance that comes from deep within and cannot be shaken. You force some respect. What's the truth about how it is in life for everyone?

People will take from you what they can. If they sense that you are the type of person who accepts and submits, they will push and push until they have established an exploitative relationship with you. Some will do this overtly; others are more slippery and passive aggressive. You must demonstrate to them that there are lines that cannot be crossed; they will pay a price for trying to push you around.

9

The Fearless Approach
People will take from you what they can. If they sense that you are the type of person who accepts and submits, they will push and push until they have established an exploitative relationship with you. Some will do this overtly; others are more slippery and passive aggressive. You must demonstrate to them that there are lines that cannot be crossed; they will pay a price for trying to push you around. How must this be communicated?

This comes from your attitude - fearless and always prepared to fight. It radiates outward and can be read in your manner without you having to speak a word. By a paradoxical law of human nature, trying to please people less will make them more likely in the long run to respect and treat you better.

10

Keys to Fearlessness
When it comes to morality, almost all of us experience a split in our consciousness. On the one hand, we understand the need to follow certain basic codes of behavior that have been in place for centuries. We try our best to live by them. On the other hand, we also sense that the world has become infinitely more competitive than anything our parents or grandparents have known. To get ahead in this world we must be willing to occasionally bend that moral code, to play with appearances, to hedge the truth and make ourselves look better, to manipulate a person or two to secure our position. The culture at large reflects this division. It emphasizes values of cooperation and decency, while titillating us constantly in the media with endless stories of those who have risen to the top by being bad and ruthless. We are both drawn to and repulsed by these stories. What is the unfortunate net effect of all this?

This split creates an ambivalence and awkwardness in our actions. We are not very good at being either good or bad. When we do the manipulative acts that are necessary, it is with half a heart and some guilt. We are not sure how to operate in this way - when to play the more aggressive role, or how far to go.

11

Keys to Fearlessness
For Machiavelli, the problem wasn't a leader adjusting his morality to the circumstance - everyone does that. It was that he did not do it well. Too often he would be aggressive when he needed to be cunning, or vice versa. He would not recognize in time the once friendly state that was now plotting against him, and his response would be too desperate. When a venture succeeds, people tend to overlook some of the nasty tactics you were forced to use; when a venture fails, those same tactics become scrutinized and condemned.
A prince or leader must first and foremost be effective in his actions and to do so he must master the art of knowing when and how to be bad. This requires some fearlessness and flexibility. When the situation calls for it, he must be the lion - aggressive and direct in protecting his state, or grabbing something to secure its interests. At other times, he has to be the fox - getting his way through crafty maneuvers that disguise his aggression. And often he must play the lamb - the meek, deferential, and good creature exalted in culture. He is bad in the right way, calibrated to the situation, and careful to make his actions look justified to the public, reserving his nastier tactics for behind the scenes. If he masters the art of being bad, he uses it sparingly and he creates more peace and power for his citizens than the awkward prince who tries to be too good.
How should this be the method for us as well?

We are all now princes competing with thousands of rival "states". We have our aggressive impulses, our desires for power. These impulses are dangerous. If we act upon them unconsciously or awkwardly, we can create endless problems for ourselves. we must learn to recognize the situation that requires assertive (yet controlled) actions, and which mode of attack (fox or lion) is suitable.

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Keys to Fearlessness
What are the 5 most common foes and scenarios that you will encounter in which some form of badness is required to defend or advance yourself? (5)

-Aggressors
-Passive Aggressors
-Unjust Situations
-Static Situations
-Impossible Dynamics

13

-Aggressors
Which basic principle in squaring off against aggressors who are direct and relentless did FDR understand?

That if you meet them head on, you are forced to fight on their terms. Unless you happen to be an aggressive type, you are generally at a disadvantage against those who have simple ideas and fierce energy. It is best to fight them in an indirect manner, concealing your intentions and doing what you can behind the scenes - hidden from the public - to create obstacles and sow confusion.

14

-Aggressors
How do you deal with this type?

Instead of reacting, you must give aggressors some space to go further with their attacks, getting them to expose themselves in the process and provide you plenty of juicy targets to hit. If you become too active and forceful in response, you look defensive. You are playing the fox to their lion - remaining cool and calculating, doing whatever you can to make them more emotional and baiting them to fall apart through their own reckless energy.

15

-Passive Aggressors
These types are masters at disguise. They present themselves as weak and helpless, or highly moral and righteous, or friendly and ingratiating. This makes them hard to pick out at first glance. They send all kinds of mixed signals - alternating between friendly, cool, and hostile - creating confusion and conflicting emotions. If you try to call them on their behavior, they use this confusion to make you feel guilty, as if you were the one who was the source of the problem. Once you are drawn into their dramas, with your emotions engaged, it can be very difficult to detach yourself. The key is recognizing them in time to take appropriate action. In this respect, how was Catherine a classic fearless type?

She understood that with passive aggressors you must not get emotional and drawn into their endless intrigues. If you respond indirectly, with a kind of passive aggression yourself, you play into their hands - they are better at this game than you are. Being underhanded and tricky only spurs on their insecurities and intensifies their vindictive nature.

16

-Passive Aggressors
How do you deal with this type?

The only way to treat these types is to take bold, uncompromising action that either discourages further nonsense or sends them running away. They respond only to power and leverage. Having allies higher up the chain can serve as a means of blocking them. You are playing the lion to their fox, making them afraid of you. They see there will be real consequences if they continue their behavior in any form.

17

-Passive Aggressors
How can you recognize these types?

To recognize such types, look for extremes in behavior that are not natural - too kind, too ingratiating, too moral. These are most likely disguises that are worn to deflect attention from their true nature. Better to be proactive and take precautionary measure the moment you feel they are trying to get into your life.

18

-Unjust Situations
In facing an unjust situation, you have two options: The first is that you can loudly proclaim your intentions to defeat the people behind it, making yourself look good and noble in the process. Why would you want to avoid this route?

In the end, this tends to polarize the public (you create one hardened enemy for every sympathizer won over to the cause), and it makes your intentions obvious. If the enemy is crafty, this makes it almost impossible to defeat them.

19

-Unjust Situations
In facing an unjust situation, you have two options: If it is results you are after, how must you learn instead to play the fox, letting go of your moral purity?

You resist the pull to get emotional, and you craft strategic maneuvers designed to win public support. You shift your position to suit the circumstance, baiting the enemy into actions that will win you sympathy. You conceal your intentions.

20

-Unjust Situations
How can you justify your reaction to such situations?

Think of it as war - short of unnecessary violence, you are called to do whatever it takes to defeat the enemy. There is no nobility in losing if an injustice is allowed to prevail.

21

-Static Situations
In any venture, people quickly create rules and conventions that must be followed. This is often necessary to instill some discipline and order. But most often these rules and conventions are arbitrary - they are based on something that was successful in the past but might have little relevance to the present. They are often instruments for those in power to maintain their grip and keep the ground unified. If this goes on long enough, they become stultifying and crowd out any new ways of doing things. In such situations, what is called for is the total destruction of these dead conventions, creating space for something new. In other words you must be the complete lion, as bad as can be. What's the lesson?

In general, you must be less respectful of the rules that other people have established. They do not necessarily fit the times or your temperament. And there is great power to be had by being the one to initiate a new order.

22

-Impossible Dynamics
Sometimes in life you find yourself in a negative situation that cannot be improved no matter what you do. You might find yourself working for people who are irrational. Their actions seem to serve no purpose apart from imposing their power and making you miserable. Everything you do is wrong. Or it could be a relationship in which you are constantly forced to rescue a person. This usually involves types who present themselves as weak victims in need of attention and assistance. They stir up a lot of drama around them. No matter what you do, the need to be rescued keeps recurring. How do you recognize such dynamics?

You can recognize this dynamic by your emotional need to somehow solve the problem, mixed with your complete frustration in finding any kind of reasonable answer.

23

-Impossible Dynamics
How do you deal with impossible dynamics?

In truth the only viable solution is to terminate the relationship - no arguing, no bargaining, no compromising. You leave the job (there are always others); you leave the person who is tormenting you with as much finality as possible. Resist the temptation to feel any guilt. You need to create as much distance as possible, so they cannot inveigle these emotions into you. They must become dead to you so you can go on with your life.

24

Reversal
The problem with confrontational moments, and why we often seek to avoid them, is that they churn up a lot of unpleasant emotions. We feel personally aggrieved that someone is trying to hurt or harm us. This makes us wonder about ourselves and feel insecure. Did we deserve this in some way? If we go through a few of these unpleasant moments, we become increasingly skittish. But this is really a problem of perception. In our own inner turmoil we tend to exaggerate the negative intentions of our opponents. In general we take conflicts far too personally. People have problems and traumas that they carry with them from their childhood on. Most often when they do something to harm or block us, it really is not directed at us personally. It comes from some unfinished business from the past, or deep insecurities. We happen to cross their path at the wrong moment.
It is essential that you develop the reverse perspective. Describe it.

Life naturally involves conflicting interests; people have their own issues, their own agendas, and they collide with yours. Instead of taking this personally or concerning yourself with people's intentions, you must simply work to protect and advance yourself in this competitive game, this bloody arena. Focus your attention on their maneuvers and how to deflect them. When you have to resort to something that isn't conventionally moral, it is just another maneuver you are executing in the game - nothing to feel guilty about. You accept human nature and the idea that people will resort to aggression.

25

Reversal
What do you stand to gain from this calm and detached Reversal?

This calm, detached perspective will make it that much easier to design the perfect strategy for blunting their aggression. With your emotions unscathed by these battles, you will grow accustomed to them and will even take some pleasure in fighting them as well.